Here on equestrian, we have been very busy since last November, transforming our fields into a “paddock paradise.”
Our horses live outside in the fields all year round and we wanted to make them more “horse friendly.” We had a temporary track system set up last year but wanted to make it permanent!
A paddock paradise, also known as a track system, is a way of keeping horses based on the lifestyle of a natural, healthy, wild horse. It is also a great way to manage a horse's weight too, as most of our horses struggle to maintain a healthy weight!
Within a standard rectangular field, you fence off the inner section so the horses have access to an outer track. This encourages more movement and helps keep the horses fit and their joints healthy. We can also put enrichment activities on the track such as feeding stations, scratching posts, logs on the ground, treat balls and other things!
It has been a lot of fun designing and creating it! We had to start off by digging out holes in the ground for the fence posts, and then knock the posts in, some by hand and the larger ones with the tractor! We created new gateways and hung new gates.
The agri Team were a huge help in the process, and showed us how to attach the wire onto the posts and plumb in new water troughs!
We also worked with the conservation project to plant some new hedgerows and plants for the horses to eat and shelter behind in the field.
It was so much fun to learn new skills and use new equipment that we hadn’t used before. Everyone on the team was keen to get stuck in and get their muscles working hard at knocking fence posts in! We are nearly finished and are hoping in the next couple of weeks we can finish the last little jobs, ready to move the horses in for springtime!
We are so thankful to God for all these exciting and varied opportunities we get to experience on the project, and it was a blessing to really come together as a team and rely on each other for help and encouragement.
God granted us energy and strength to complete the work, which at times on very windy, rainy days felt like we might run out of! But God sustained us and blessed us with amazing resources to do this work, great opportunities to spend time together with the other projects and create happy memories and build confidence as folk learnt new skills.
We pray that through our horses being able to live happy lives in their new paddocks, those we support will take great pride in enabling that to happen, but also see that their happiness is far more valuable than the horses, and that they are so loved by God.
Emma Parkinson Townend